A week after racist graffiti was spotted at neighboring Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, the University of Michigan’s main campus in Ann Arbor was hit with racist postings at an academic building Monday morning, a statement from the university said.
The fliers were found at Haven and Mason halls on the UM Central Campus, according to the statement, which was signed by UM President Mark Schlissel, provost Martha Pollack, vice president for student life Royster Harper, and Rob Sellers, a vice provost for equity, inclusion and academic affairs.
Multiple Twitter users have posted a picture of the fliers, which the statement did not include. One flier is headed, “Why White Women Shouldn’t Date Black Men,” and details the supposed horrors visited upon the former group by the latter.
The second flier, with a stop sign in the middle, tells “Euro-Americans” to stop “apologizing,” “living in fear” and “denying (their) heritage.” The bottom of the flier has the words “Alt Right,” and the words “Be White.”
“While we continue to defend any individual’s right to free speech on our campus, these types of attacks directed toward any individual or group, based on a belief or characteristic, are inconsistent with the university’s values of respect, civility and equality,” the statement read. “Amidst these challenging times, our core values can help ground our community.”
The University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security deferred comment and said a university spokesperson would handle any comment going forward. The university responded with the same statement it had issued via social media.
“At (Michigan), we seek understanding through inclusive & civil discourse,” Schlissel tweeted, “not speech that demeans individual groups.”
The fliers went up just two days after several Michigan football players raised their fists during the national anthem on Saturday, the first time this season UM players partook in the protest movement sparked by San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneels during the anthem.
Andrew Martin, dean of the College of Literature, Science & the Arts, said the fliers “advocating white supremacy strike at the very heart and soul of the College.”
“Their presence marred our physical spaces—in Haven and Mason halls—where we hold our classes and where our faculty and staff work, and are an assault on everything we believe in as a liberal arts college and as a diverse community,” Martin said in a statement posted on the college’s website Monday.
Martin said that in the coming days the college will “work with others who wish to organize a further response, with teach-ins, conversations, and other avenues of mutual support.”
While the fliers at Mason and Haven halls were taken down, Lawrielle West, a 22-year-old UM graduate student in social work, said she saw similar fliers touting white supremacy near the Michigan Union within around 2 p.m. Monday, including Identity Europa fliers, which have popped up both locally and nationally.
“It’s not shocking, but it’s shocking,” said West, who is also a residential adviser. “People may not always say things, but they think it.”
West, who is from Detroit’s west side and graduated from Cass Tech High School, said that while some black students are writing off the fliers as the work of trolls, others are taking them very seriously.
“We’re laughing at it, but taking it seriously,” said West, adding that the university’s statement provided no comfort.
“It was so cut and dried,” West said. “I didn’t feel any emotion in it at all.”